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Founded in 1978, Oldcastle is a staple of North America's construction industry - the first place contractors look for building materials. Oldcastle’s mission is to help build not just long lasting buildings, but also long-lasting relationships and to make sure Oldcastle materials are close at hand wherever customers are.
Oldcastle partnered with Beezwax to further those principles through The Product and Location Guide.
The Guide showcases 12,000+ products including 30+ concrete mixes and 100+ precast structures, across 6 subdivisions and partners, distributed across over 2,000+ locations in the United States and Canada. (So, like, if you need concrete, we know a guy.)
The previous sites were primarily text based, with clunky, uninspired interfaces.
Oldcastle has been around the construction industry long enough to know it’s who you know that gets the job done…. That’s why we focus on developing relationships… [and] are excited to announce we recently updated… the Oldcastle Product and Location Guide to provide an experience that is tailored just for you.Heather Pacinelli , Director of Digital MarketingFrom her memo to Customers launching the App we built
We redesigned the interface and brought new functionality… Making The Guide compelling and effective in bringing people and supplies together.
Customers search for an individual product or browse by way of nested categories, facilitated by interactive breadcrumbs. And they can now seamlessly transition from reading about a product to finding exactly where it can be bought. And, through the integration we built with Oldcastle’s HubSpot platform, customers can go from finding a desired product to hearing the voice of their local sales representative.
Using geolocation, customers now can see all of their local suppliers within 50 miles when they first open the page, without typing a single key. From there they can quickly narrow their search using the smart product categorization filters. Mobile customers can call their closest location right from the map.
We redesigned the site starting with a mobile mindset, and then added features to adapt to desktop. This process ensured that mobile users have an optimal user experience, without undercutting the desktop .
Upgrading Ruby from 1.9.3 to 2.3.3 and Rails from 3.0 to 4.2 gave us better performance and updated development features. We also built a more robust test suite along the way, which provides useful sanity checks during development. Building a new foundation before diving into coding helped streamline development.
We leverage open source Ruby Gems for development efficiency and powerful features. On this project, some notable mentions: Geocoder gem, the Swiss army knife of Ruby geographic development; Ransack for powerful sorting and filtering; Paperclip for asset processing; and Capistrano for fast deployment.
We transitioned from using the Cartographer library to communicating directly with the Google Maps API. This made it possible to separate obtaining location results from building the map. Instead of processing a full-page reload with every search, the backend can now streamline the search results into the front-end map generation for a seamless customer experience.
We allow users to search by city or postal code, using Google Places API for the former, and an optimized custom-built postal codes database for the latter. The system is smart enough to know what type of query you entered and use the best geocoding strategy for each case.
The motto of Oldcastle’s Product and Location Guide is: "Find out what we make, where we make it, and how to get it.” With this new version, Customers can do exactly that. And as products and locations are constantly updated, and new ones added, The Guide allows Oldcastle to focus on building relationships and bringing Oldcastle products right to you.